It was a grind of a game, but Nebraska’s freshman stars came through and carried the team over the finish line. Alexis Markowski and Alison Weidner scored 18 of Nebraska’s final 20 points in a 76-61 win over Penn State. The game was much closer then the final score indicated as the Lady Lions were within one point early in the fourth quarter but the Husker defense held Penn State without a field goal in the final seven minutes to come away with the win.
Penn State scored first, but Nebraska got off to a solid start, jumping to a 9-4 edge, before the Lady Lions answered with an 8-2 surge to take a brief 12-11 lead with 4:03 left in the first quarter. Nebraska put together a 9-0 run that included a Ruby Porter three-pointer before Annika Stewart capped the Big Red run to take a 20-12 lead with one minute left in the quarter.
Nebraska 20 Penn State 14
The Huskers built their biggest lead of the game at 34-25 after back-to-back three-pointers by Scoggin and Shelley with 1:28 left in the half. Shelley finished the half with three points, nine rebounds and seven assists.
Nebraska 34 Penn State 28
Nebraska shot 41.9 percent in the half, including 30.8 percent (4-13) from three-point range. The Huskers also hit 4-of-5 free throws and out-rebounded Penn State, 19-16, while winning the first-half turnover battle, 8-5. Bourne led the Big Red with 10 first-half points, while Markowski added six points.
The Huskers built a 12-point lead midway through the third quarter thanks to strong performances by Australians Jaz Shelley and Isabelle Bourne. Neither Bourne nor Shelley scored in the fourth quarter. Nebraska led throughout the second, but Penn State’s Makenna Marisa opened the fourth quarter with two of her game-high 27 points to pull the Lady Lions within one at 53-52.
Ashley Scoggin knocked down her third three-pointer of the night to put the Big Red back up four, before PSU’ answered with a basket to bring the Lady Lions within a possession at 56-54 with 8:50 left.
The Husker freshmen then took over, beginning with a finish by Markowski, before Marisa scored PSU’s final field goal of the game with 7:14 left to cut the NU lead to 58-56.
Weidner, who entered the fourth quarter with four points, scored on back-to-back strong drives to put the Big Red up 62-56 and force a Penn State timeout. After a Marisa free throw, Markowski scored three straight before a pair of Weidner free throws with 4:31 left gave Nebraska a double-digit lead at 67-57.
A three-point play by Markowski with four minutes left gave the Huskers their biggest lead at the time with four minutes left at 70-57. Marisa stopped the bleeding with two more free throws, but a layup by Sam Haiby, who finished with seven points and five assists, and four straight points by Weidner extended Nebraska’s margin to 76-59 with 47 seconds left.
Final. Nebraska 76 Penn State 61
Stats and Thoughts
Markowski led Nebraska with 18 points. Weidner and Bourne finished with 14 points with Issie adding nine rebounds. Jaz Shelley notched her sixth double-double of the season by matching her career high with 12 rebounds and setting a new career best with 11 assists.
Nebraska hit 41.8 percent (28-67) of its field goal attempts, including 7-of-25 threes (.280) while knocking down 13-of-18 free throws (.722). The Huskers outworked Penn State on the glass, 46-36, including 16-9 on the offensive end. NU also won the turnover battle, 15-13, and outscored Penn State 16-9 in points off those turnovers.
The Huskers held PSU to 38.6 percent (22-57) shooting, including just 4-of-19 (.211) from three-point range. The Lady Lions knocked down 13-of-20 free throws, including 5-for-8 in the fourth quarter to account for all their scoring in the final seven minutes.